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Your Photos & Path in Google My Maps

We’ve recently returned from a trip to India. Back home, I generated a Google My Map to document our visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra. This is what it looks like:

The map includes not only the path we’ve travelled, but also some of the images taken. Click on the thumbnails to see info in a sidebar.

To create a map like this, you need:

  1. a digital camera set to the correct time zone
  2. a GPS Track Logger
  3. a Google Account (to create your personal map)
  4. a Server to upload thumbnails and images
  5. HoudahGeo

How to create maps like the one above – step by step:

  1. During the trip, have a GPS Track Logger running. This is where you’ll get the path and the info for picture geotagging from. Set the camera to the correct time zone – in our case, it was indian time (IST).
  2. Import both pictures and track logs into HoudahGeo. Specify the camera time when importing the pictures. With the track logs supplied, geotagging pictures is automatic.
  3. In HoudahGeo, choose “Output > KML Export“. Don’t forget to specify your Base URL – this is where you’ll upload your data to.
    HoudahGeo KML Export
  4. HoudahGeo creates a folder containing three subfolders and a file named doc.kml
  5. Upload the main folder’s content to the specified location on your server.
  6. Log into your Google Account, go to Google My Maps and create a new map.
  7. Import the doc.kml file into your map. This may take a few seconds to process.
    Google My Maps Import
  8. You’ll end up with several new map layers. There are your Images and there’s the Track containing your path and a bounding box (the later can be deleted). There are two more layers, which I deleted (Timeline layer and Tour).

You can now edit, share, or embed the map you’ve just created.

When geotagging in the same process, remember to write geotags to EXIF/XMP (under “Export”) and notify iPhoto/Aperture before you close HoudahGeo. KML Export and geotagging can also be done independently.